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Avalanche hits hotel as death toll from Europe snow rises

A huge avalanche has smashed into a hotel in southern Germany after snow across Europe caused more deaths.

The building in the village of Balderschwang was badly damaged but nobody was injured in the incident.

Brigitte Kloepf, a spokeswoman for Oberallgaeu regional authorities, said the hotel was evacuated and 100 guests were taken to nearby buildings.

About 1,100 people are unable to leave Balderschwang, near the Austrian border, because of an avalanche-risk on roads following days of intense snowfall, Ms Kloepf said.



Authorities in Austria dropped explosives from helicopters to spark controlled avalanches.




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Video:
Explosives used to control avalanches

Authorities in parts of Austria, Germany and Switzerland have warned that further snow and rainfall is raising the risk of avalanches, and increasing the weight on snow-laden roofs.

It comes after three people were hurt in eastern Switzerland when an avalanche hit a hotel at the Schwaegalp mountain pass on Thursday.

The death toll from weather-related incidents across Europe this year rose to at least 26 over the weekend.



Clearance begins inside a Swiss hotel struck by an avalanche




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Video:
Aftermath of avalanche at Swiss hotel

Heavy snow has blanketed the Balkans and countries to the north of the region.

Three German skiers were killed after they were hit by an avalanche in the Austrian Alps on Sunday, while a fourth skier remains missing.

The bodies of the men, aged 57, 36 and 32, were found a few hours after the wife one of one of the skiers reported them missing.

Two ski patrollers died on Sunday after devices they use to trigger controlled avalanches accidentally exploded in the French Alps.

The accident took place in the Haute-Savoie region on Sunday. File pic
Image:
French ski patrollers died in the Haute-Savoie region on Sunday. File pic

The accident in the Haute-Savoie region happened before the slopes were opened to the public.

An avalanche killed two Bulgarian snowboarders who were found in the country’s Pirin Mountains on Friday.

The Bulgarian Red Cross said the pair triggered the cascade of snow after ignoring warnings and weather alerts.

A snow plough driver in Germany died on Friday after his vehicle plunged into an icy river.

Albania’s energy ministry said a power company employee was killed after suffering a heart attack while repairing damaged supply lines earlier this week.

About 2,000 soldiers and other emergency workers in Albania were assigned to help people trapped by snow and to clear roads to restore access to rural areas.

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